Jonathan's Space Report No. 604 2008 Dec 11

Status Report From: Jonathan's Space Report
Posted: Saturday, December 13, 2008

Shuttle and Station

The Expedition 18 crew of Michael Fincke, Yuiry Lonchakov and Greg Chamitoff continued work on board ISS until the arrival of STS-126; after its departure and return to Earth with Chamitoff, Expedition 18 consists of Fincke, Lonchakov, and NASA's Sandy Magnus.

Soyuz TMA-13 is docked to the Zarya port. Progress M-65 undocked from Zvezda at 1620 UTC on Nov 14, and remained in orbit until Dec 7 to continue ionospheric experiments. Progress M-01M was launched on Nov 26; the new spacecraft, serial no. 401, has a modernized digital control system. It docked with the Pirs module on Nov 30.

Endeavour entered in a 158 x 230 km orbit following launch on Nov 15 on mission STS-126, and docked with the PMA-2 unit on the Harmony module at 2201 UTC on Nov 16.

At 1709 UTC on Nov 17 the ISS robot arm (SSRMS) unberthed the MPLM-1 Leonardo module from Endeavour's bay and by 1804 UTC it was attached to the Harmony module nadir port.

On Nov 18, Heidi Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve Bowen made a spacewalk from the Quest module using EMU suits 3005 and 3003. Quest reached 50 mbar at around 1805 UTC, and the hatch was opened around 1808 UTC. The astronauts transferred an empty airlock nitrogen tank from the ESP-3 stowage pallet on the Station to the LMC carrier in Endeavour, and brought back to ESP-3 a new spare part, the Flexible Hose Rotary Coupler. They then began the major outdoor work of the mission, the cleaning and maintenance of the Solar Array Rotary Joint (SARJ) on the S3 truss segment. Trundle Bearing Assembly units were replaced and the SARJ 'race ring' was lubricated. At 2038 UTC Stefanyshyn-Piper's 14 kg tool bag accidentally floated away; the work continued with spare tools. The astronauts returned to the airlock around 0050 UTC on Nov 19, with hatch closed at 0057 UTC and repressurization at 0101 UTC. The crew lock bag was cataloged as object 33442, 1998-067BL, and is in a 348 x 353 km orbit. One other ISS debris object is still aloft, a jettisoned thruster cover from EVA-20A on 2008 Jul 11; its orbit is 309 x 320 km.

EVA-2 was on Nov 20 by Stefanyshyn-Piper at Kimbrough, wearing EMU suits 3005 and 3018. They moved the two CETA equipment carts from the starboard to the port side of the Mobile Transporter, and carried out more SARJ maintenance. Depressurization to 50 mbar was at 1752 UTC and the hatch was open at 1757 UTC; hatch was closed at 0039 UTC on Nov 21 with repressurization at 0042 UTC.

The third spacewalk was on Nov 22 by Bowen and Stefanyshyn-Piper, wearing suits 3003 and 3005. Quest reached 50 mbar at about 1758 UTC with hatch open at 1800 UTC. The astronauts continued servicing the SARJ. Hatch was closed at 0052 UTC on Nov 23 with repressurization beginning at 0058 UTC.

EVA-4 was on Nov 24; Kimbrough and Bowen completed the SARJ work and installed an external TV camera and a GPS antenna to support docking of JAXA's HTV cargo ship. Airlock depress was around 1819 UTC with hatch open at 1822 UTC; hatch close at 0029 UTC on Nov 25 with repressurization at 0031 UTC.

On Nov 26 the Leonardo module was returned from Harmony to Endeavour. Endeavour undocked at 1447 UTC on Nov 28. At 2033 UTC on Nov 29, the 7 kg PicoSat Solar Cell Testbed Experiment, PSSC Testbed, was deployed. It is a pathfinder for a later PSSC mission to geostationary transfer orbit to study radiation degradation of solar cells.

On Nov 29 at 2019 UTC Endeavour fired its OMS engines to reduce velocity by 89 m/s, putting it on a reentry path. The Shuttle landed on temporary runway 04L at Edwards AFB in California at 2125 UTC. (The main runway 04R/22L is being refurbished, and a new, shorter temporary runway is in place as 04L/22R.) On Dec 10 Endeavour began its trek back to Florida atop Shuttle Carrier Aircraft NASA 911.


Kosmos-2445 raised its orbit to 194 x 347 km on Nov 17.

Yaogan Weixing si hao

The YW 4 satellite (Remote Sensing Satellite No. 4) was launched from China's northern Jiuquan space center on Dec 1 into a 633 x 652 km x 97.9 deg orbit. As for YW 2, no launch vehicle stage was cataloged; it seems probable that the CZ-2D second stage makes a depletion burn after payload separation and reenters within a few orbits.


The Russian Defense Ministry launched an Oko (US-KS) elliptical orbit early warning satellite on Dec 2; it was given the cover name Kosmos-2446.


A Proton was launched from Baykonur on Dec 10 into a -497 x 175 km x 51.5 deg orbit. The Briz-M upper stage then reached orbits of 184 x 184 km, 277 x 5007 km, 334 x 16721 km, 421 x 35621 km and, after an inclination change to 19.5 deg, 5580 x 35612 km, where the Ciel-2 payload separated.

Ciel-2 is a Thales Alenia Spacebus 4000C4 with a mass of around 5600 kg, owned by Ciel Satellite Group, an Ottawa-based satellite TV operator. Ciel is currently using Echostar V. Control of Ciel-2 will be from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Table of Recent (orbital) Launches

Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission    INTL.  
Oct  1 0637   THEOS             Dnepr            Yasniy            Imaging   49A
Oct 12 0701   Soyuz TMA-13      Soyuz-FG         Baykonur LC1/5    Spaceship 50A
Oct 19 1747   IBEX              Pegasus XL       Kwajalein         Astronomy 51A
Oct 22 0052   Chandraayan-1  )  PSLV             Sriharikota     Lunar probe 52A
              MIP            )                                   Lunar probe 52
Oct 25 0115   SJ-6-03A)         Chang Zheng 4B   Taiyuan           Unknown   53A  
              SJ-6-03B)                                            Unknown   53A
Oct 25 0228   COSMO 3           Delta 7420-10    Vandenberg SLC2W  Radar     54A
Oct 29 1654   Simon Bolivar     Chang Zheng 3B   Xichang           Comms     55A
Nov  5 0015   Chuanxin-1-02   ) Chang Zheng 2D   Jiuquan           Tech      56A
              Shiyan Weixing 3)                                    Tech      56B
Nov  5 2044   Astra 1M          Proton-M         Baykonur LC200/39 Comms     57A
Nov 14 1550   Kosmos-2445       Soyuz-U          Plesetsk LC16/2   Imaging   58A
Nov 15 0055   Endeavour STS-126) Space Shuttle   Kennedy LC39A     Spaceship 59A
              Leonardo         )
Nov 26 1238   Progress M-01M    Soyuz-U          Baykonur LC1/5    Cargo     60A
Nov 29 2033   PSSC Testbed      -                Endeavour, LEO    Tech      59B
Dec  1 0442   Yaogan Weixing 4  Chang Zheng 2D   Jiuquan           Imaging?  61A
Dec  2 0500   Kosmos-2446       Molniya-M        Plesetsk LC16/2  Early Warn 62A
Dec 10 1343   Ciel-2          Proton-M/Briz   Baykonur        Comms

I decided to include a table of suborbital launches as well, as an experiment.

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission    Apogee/km

Nov  1        PacBlitz08      UNKNOWN         Kauai           Target       150?
Nov  1        Aegis KV        SM-3            DDG-60, Kauai   Intercept    150?
Nov  1        PacBlitz08      UNKNOWN         Kauai           Target       150?
Nov  1        Aegis KV        SM-3            DDG-70, Kauai   Intercept    150?
Nov  5 0900   GT198 RV-1      Minuteman 3     Vandenberg      Op Test     1300?
Nov 12 0555   DRDO RV         Shourya         Chandipur       R&D          200?
Nov 12?       Iran RV         Sejjil          Semnan?         R&D          300?
Nov 13 0906   M-51 RV-1 )     MSBS M51        Landes          R&D         1000?
              M-51 RV-2?)
              M-51 RV-3?)
              M-51 RV-4?)
              M-51 RV-5?)
              M-51 RV-6?)
Nov 14        NASA 36.221DS   Black Brant 9   White Sands     Solar phys.  300?
Nov 20 0221   Aegis Target    UNKNOWN         Kauai           Target       150?
Nov 20 0224   Aegis JFTM-2    SM-3            DDG-176, Kauai  Intercept    150?
Nov 26        Kavoshgar-2     Kavoshgar?      Iran UNKNOWN    R&D          150?
Nov 26 1320   RS-24 RV-1 )    Topol'-M        Plesetsk        R&D         1000?
              RS-24 RV-2?)
              RS-24 RV-3?)
Nov 28        RV-1 )          Bulava          TK-208, Barents R&D         1000?
              RV-2 )
              RV-3 )
              ?    ) (Number unknown)
Dec  5 1035   ARR ICI-2       VS-30/Orion     Svalbard        Auroral sci  330
Dec  5 2004   MDA FTG-05 Targ. Polaris STARS  Kodiak          Target      1000?
Dec  5 2021   MDA FTG-05      OBV             Vandenberg      Intercept   1000?
|  Jonathan McDowell                 |  phone : (617) 495-7176            |
|  Somerville MA 02143               |  inter :   |
|  USA                               |       |
|                                                                         |
| JSR:                                 |
| Back issues:                  |
| Subscribe/unsub: mail, (un)subscribe jsr  |   

// end //

More status reports and news releases or top stories.

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.